Hotshots hire young Serbian

Magnolia tapped the services of youngster Nick Rakocevic for the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup next month.

Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero confirmed to Daily Tribune that the 24-year-old Rakocevic will power the squad following a failed semifinal campaign in the Philippine Cup.

Standing at 6-foot-11, the Serbian big man is tipped to provide youth and solid defense for the undersized Magnolia side.

He is also likely the tallest among all reinforcements who will enter the league on 21 September.

Victolero said it has been their plan to inject a younger player into the system, but the postponement of the mid-season tourney for two years hampered their roadmap.

“Yes, he is going to be our import,” Victolero told Daily Tribune in a text message.

A former member of the Serbian U20 national team and product of University of Southern California, Rakocevic signed his first professional contract with Zhejiang Golden Bulls in China, the same team that featured National Basketball Association star JR Smith, former PBA import Denzel Bowles and Iranian star Nikkhah Barami.

During his recent stint with the Golden Bulls, he tallied impressive averages of 13.2 points and 10.1 rebounds to lead his team to a 28-10 record to reach the playoffs.

Rakocevic and Zhejiang, however, were swept by the Guangdong Southern Tigers in the quarterfinals.

With the young slotman set to arrive soon, Victolero is eager to build a wider frontcourt rotation led by Ian Sangalang, Rafi Reavis and James Laput.

“We’re really looking for a young and aggressive import. We really wanted an athletic and young one,” Victolero said.

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